Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

HRP 2016 gear

I thought a short review of the gear used on my recent HRP Revisited trip was worthwhile for those planning a similar trip. On long treks I’m always trying to optimise the load carried, being only around 63kg (& having old legs) even the thought of carrying 18 – 20kg for 8 – 10 hours tires me out. I try to aim of a max load of 20% of body weight so with 6 days’ food & 1L of water I’d a target of around 6 – 7kg base weight.

Having the benefit of knowing the likely conditions (weather, terrain, etc.) does help a lot when deciding upon what kit to take on a trip & my final equipment choice gave a base weight of 6.2kg; on the HRP in 2014 in had a base weight of 7.9kg.

Wearing

Darn Tough Socks 55 g
TNF Meridian trousers 310 g
Craghopper Nosilife shirt 276 g
OR Helios hat 75 g
Merril Moab Ventilator shoes 680 g
Axiom watch/ altimeter c/w Suunto clipper compass 55 g
BD Trail Pro trekking poles 520 g

While a lot of the ‘locals’ in the Pyrenees seem to get clad in lycra for the hills being from Scotland & not used to the heat I tend to cover up; a comfortable long sleeved shirt & trou’s suits me fine, together with a big hat it saves carrying lots of sunscreen.

scruff-large

The Merril Moab shoes served me well on the GR11 so I only had to buy a fresh pair which survived the trip a little worn but relatively undamaged.

The BD Trail Pro poles have become a favourite, not as light as some but I much prefer the flicklock adjustment as they’re also the support for the MLD Duomid. I did end up ‘losing’ the screw-in carbide tips from one poles near the end of the trip; from now on I’ll carry a spare. I did note the replacement tips are of a slightly different design & appear to be less prone to un-screwing themselves.

bd-tips-large

Base Pack Weight Summary 6.18 kg
The Basics 1.86 kg
Toiletries etc. 0.29 kg
Technology 0.45 kg
Clothing Carried 1.23 kg
Sleeping/ Shelter 1.89 kg
Cooking 0.48 kg

 

The Basics 1855 g
Rucksack, MLD Exodus, full suspension, inc pockets 964 g
Poly pack liner 40 g
Passport, money, cards & aloksak 100 g
Spare glasses & clip-on sun lens 55 g
Silva Compass 30 g
Small penknife & firesteel 36 g
1st Aid kit 60 g
Repair Kit 40 g
Dry bag, Small Zpacks 17 g
Maps/ guide – 20 A4 sheets in aloksak 149 g
Headtorch – e+lite 33 g
Camp Corsa ice axe, 50cm 215 g
Vargo Ti Cleats 116 g

 After successfully using the MLD Exodus FS on the GR11 in 2015 it’s become favoured over my non-suspension version for longer trips & where carrying higher loads is probable (resupply or lots of water). I probably didn’t carry more than 12kg so could have used the basic version & saved 0.25kg but at the expense of a little comfort.

exodus-fs-large

In 2014 I took along the relatively heavy Katoola Microspikes, 360g, & no axe; this year I took along a Camp Corsa axe + Vargo Ti Cleats. The Corsa axe does feel a bit of a toy at 215g, it’s definitely not a climbing axe but it’ll do what it was meant to do & prevent an uncontrolled slide down a snow slope.

The Vargo Cleats did help the trail shoes get some extra traction but I wasn’t 100% happy with them as on a couple of occasions I found the toe strap coming off the shoe.  This was probably down to the cleats moving forward on the shoe; personally I think they need some form of heel strap & probably a linkage to stop the front spikes from spreading apart too far. It could be a bit unfair to criticise them too much as they were probably getting used on much steeper terrain for what they’re intended.

axe-cleats-large

I probably could have managed without the axe & cleats this year given that the snow cover was much less than in 2014 & 2015 but they did make being on the steeper snow slopes feel a lot more ‘comfortable’.

Toiletries etc. 290 g
Toothbrush & paste 40 g
Toilet paper 10 g
Lip balm 10 g
GEWHOL Foot cream 80 g
Towel 30 g
Sunscreen 60 g
Soap 60 g

Nothing magic here.

Technology 447 g
Samsung Galaxy S5 150 g
Phone charger – European * 2 54 g
Spare Samsung phone battery 45 g
Samsung phone battery charger 18 g
Charging Cables * 2 20 g
Camera, Canon Ixus 105 c/w spare battery 160 g

This has been one of my recent substantial kit changes. Out go the iPhone & Garmin GPS to be replaced by the Galaxy S5 & a rationalised charging setup. Don’t know why I didn’t do it before; it achieved a 300g reduction in weight from the previous iPhone + GPS setup & I’m much happier with the functionality.

For my requirements the Galaxy S5 is superior to the iPhone in so many respects; it’s waterproof, you can change the cell easily (making a battery pack unnecessary), the GPS can be turned on independent from the phone & can be enabled/ disabled with one click whereas my iPhone needed drilling down to a sub-sub menu. Also the screen is 100% larger making using offline mapping on the phone a lot easier; a larger screen does mean higher power consumption but the Galaxy does have a larger cell.

For charging of the phone & spare cell; 2 power supplies – 2A  ‘F’ plug USB chargers (27g); 2 * 20cm charging leads. To charge the spare cell separately I used a modified Samsung extra battery kit, I just glued the cover in place & chopped it reducing weight by 60% to 18g.

samsung-chargers-large

I was very pleased with the battery life of the Galaxy even with moderate GPS/ map use it was OK for 4 – 7 days. I normally charged the phone at a convenient bar/ restaurant when the 2 Amp charger proved very fast. At a campsite I’d just charge the depleted cell in its charger not wanting to risk leaving a phone hanging around a washroom un-attended.

The phone’s GPS proved invaluable in the poor conditions encountered during the first few days; I’d loaded the Orux Maps App with the Garmin mapping from Topo Pirineos which I’d used previously on the GPS unit. I also loaded a GPX file of my intended route that I compiled in BaseCamp. It worked excellently & once I’d got used to the software it’s far easier to use than the Garmin.

Clothing Carried 1227 g
Thaw silk LJ’s 92 g
Rab Aon Tee, long 100 g
Socks (2 pair Darn Tough) 104 g
Shorts 70 g
Rab Micro Fleece 260 g
Montane Minimus Hoodie 145 g
Berghaus Paclite over trousers 201 g
Cumulus Minilite Gilet 140 g
Black Rock Down hat 30 g
Liner gloves 28 g
Buff 33 g
Dry bag, Medium Zpacks 24 g

 I do try & choose the spare clothing with a view towards being able to wear everything at once if it’s colder than expected, which I did on a couple of evenings. The LJ’s & Aon top as well as being capable of wear under the normal day clothes double as pyjamas which were supplemented with the fleece, down hat, & buff on a couple of the colder nights. The Cumulus Gilet only got used about half a dozen times but was a welcome addition on the chillier evenings. The Aon tee + shorts served as my spare clothes for around the campsite on laundry days.

Sleeping/ Shelter 1887 g
Sleeping bag – Cumulus 250 Quilt 460 g
Exped 13L dry bag (quilt & spare clothes) 72 g
Exped UL Pillow 50 g
Thermarest Noeair Xlite, short 237 g
MLD Cuben Duomid inc stakes 698 g
MYO Duomid nest 260 g
Tyvek footprint 110 g

 Cumulus 250 Quilt + Neoair short mat & Exped pillow is my proven 3 Season set up; I estimate the lowest temperature was just above freezing.

The MLD Duomid proved more than adequate & positively luxurious in some of the poorer weather. I did find that mosquitos were more of a nuisance this year than previously experienced so having packed the slightly heavier nest rather than a bivi was a real bonus.

duomid-large

I did include a Tyvek footprint for the nest which some will think overkill but it’s my precaution against pitching on sharp gravel or Pyrenean ‘needle’ grass which I’ve had experience of it puncturing 50g/m2 silnylon.

Cooking 477 g
Caldera Tri-Tri & Evernew 900 + cosy 164 g
Alcohol Stove 13 g
Evernew 400 Cup + sip lid & insulation 67 g
Alpkit Long spoon 13 g
Platypus bottles (2L * 2) 76 g
Water bottle 30 g
Sawyer mini filter & hoser 114 g

The now trusty Trail Design Tri-Tri Caldera Cone + 0.9L Evernew UL pot (UCA 252) + 30MYO stove performed a treat as expected; miserly on fuel yet capable of cooking up a large meal. I did carry the inferno inset for the cone & stoked up a wood fire on a few occasions which helped eek out the alcohol fuel.

The 2 * Platy’s + Sawyer mini filter & hoser, gravity filter setup, was probably not 100% necessary, 50% of the time water quality wasn’t an issue & I suppose for the rest I could have used the lighter weight pills or drops but I hate the taste so I’ll opt to carry the filter.

Food

Apart from the first 5 days all food was purchased on the fly & while most of the shops visited were small it was relatively straight forward to resupply; it does take a bit of practice though & at least 2 circuits of the shop.

Breakfast usually consisted of Granola (labelled Muesli in the shops) + Nestle concentrated milk (tubes); lunch cheese/ chorizo/ sausage + bread + cereal bars/ biscuits/ Snickers; Dinner cous-cous/ pasta cooked up in dehydrated soup + cheese/ chorizo/ sausage/ lardons/ tuna. I did take along some dried herbs & spices which helped vary the favour a bit, also added some fresh garlic & onion when it was available. A trail luxury was the 150g of tomato leather I packed from home, it did make up a great tomato sauce every few days; dehydrated tomato soup doesn’t seem to enter into the Spanish/ French menu.

I did pick up some instant Gallina Pasta meals which were quite good with chorizo/ sausage added. Not as cheap as Tesco though, up to €2 / packet in some of the shops, but worth it for some added variety IMO.

gallina-large

Overall not the most varied of diets but I always endeavoured to consume as much ‘fresh’ stuff when I hit town. It’s also worth noting that resupply like this can be heavier than my normal 800g/ day (dehydrated meals, etc), I reckon sometimes it was close to 1kg/ day.

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One comment on “HRP 2016 gear

  1. Kirsten
    December 1, 2016

    Thanks for some useful information, Paul

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This entry was posted on December 1, 2016 by in Gear and tagged , .
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